The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1669 Saturday, 1 October 2005
Date: Friday, 30 Sep 2005 13:36:40 +0100
Subject: Bridewell and Bethlem
Listmembers may be interested to know that the Bethlem Royal Hospital
Archives and Museum have just made available online digitized images of
the Archives of the Bridewell and Bethlem Hospitals. These are free to
use, and may be downloaded, saved and printed at any time.
The website address is http://bethlemheritage.org.uk/
For a shortcut to the Bridewell and Bethlem Court of Governors' Minute
Books, click on the following address:
From here, you can click on the 'Image' link on the right-hand side of
the screen, and thereafter leaf through each Minute Book, choosing
either 'Read' or 'Enlarge' options.
The 'Enlarge' function will make almost any entry legible for most readers.
Navigating the Bethlem Heritage website can be a little tricky for first
time users. An Archives page at
http://bethlemheritage.org.uk/archives.html explains the kind of
material accessible online, or held at the Museum itself.
A trial version of the catalogue is available at
From this page, you can navigate to the Minute Books via the 'Gallery'
link. Click on the 'Source Item' link and this will take you to a full
catalogue page from which you may select the material according to date,
and proceed to 'Images'.
This resource is a remarkable gift to the scholarly community, making
widely and freely available a vast range of fascinating and valuable
material hitherto difficult to access. The possibilities for its use in
the classroom and for research are limitless.
Academic studies related to these materials include Ian Archer, The
Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London (Cambridge,
1991); William S. Carroll, Fat King, Lean Beggar: Representations of
Poverty in the Age of Shakespeare (Cornell, 1996); and Paul Griffiths,
'Overlapping Circles: Imagining Criminal Communities in London,
1545-1645', in Alexandra Shepard and Philip Withington (eds),
Communities in Early Modern England (Manchester, 2000), pp.115-33, and
'Contesting London Bridewell, 1576-1580', Journal of British Studies 42
(July 2003), 283-315.
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